It was mid-day, hot, arid, needing a break, we decided to rest at one of Etosha’s waterholes. We had stopped a few waterholes during our day out without any luck. Would this waterhole be any better? I’ll let you decide.

Two cheetah had just killed a Springbok, quite a tasty treat (Springboks are truly delicious, we had one for dinner ourselves). Unfortunately for the cheetah, a leopard was nearby and stole their lunch. As he dragged the dead springbok away, the cheetahs growled with agitation. A jackal came in to the fray to see if there is a scrap to be had. No way, the leopard protected its prize. Upwards of twenty vultures circled and then landed in unison, just hoping the leopard would tire and leave the springbok behind. Forget it.

A cheetah and leopard standoff. The leopard wins. Notice how he keeps his prize under him. Also notice the red muzzle on the cheetah.

They continue their dance. Only the vulture is unafraid.

Meanwhile, just 100 feet away, at the waterhole, some zebras come for a drink. It is interesting how they line up, just like plant closing time at the local bar, every stool in use.

The patterns in these zebra are mesmerizing.

Next to the zebras, the impalas join in a mid-day drink. Zebras and Impalas drinking together, can you imagine? A moment later drink-time is done as an elephant makes a visit. No one likes to drink when there is an elephant in the room.

The zebras are quick to scatter when the general arrives.

The elephant goes for a mud bath, an expensive spa treatment. While his attention is diverted, many impalas come back for a drink.

Impalas lined up for their drink at the waterhole [photo by Kathryn]

The zebras do not, they are still scared. When the elephant is done with his treatment, he notices the impalas. Before he can get angry, they all bow to his presence.

The general with his army, they show him some reverence.

While all this is happening, cars arrive to witness the action. They line up looking like the zebras, drinking up the action. A Tawney Eagle comes in for a drink, the vultures leave, two by two.

I have never been a fan of the vulture. However, they can be photogenic.

The elephant took his leave which created a vacuum. Enter, the giraffes who would dearly like a drink. But, the zebras have come back. What’s a giraffe to do in such a situation?

Giraffes have long necks but not blessed with any sort of brain. They can’t get to the water with the zebras present.

After the giraffes gave up, the zebras decided they were done, quite a coincidence. Before anything big decides to visit, perhaps a rhino, the Kudus take their turn.

Kudus on the left, Impalas on the right, just the way it should be.

The Springbok are back, undeterred from the loss of one of their brethren. I guess they feel if the big cats are full, nothing to worry about. Rested, it is time for us to take our leave, all of this in a mid-day hour, at the waterhole.